Duterte open to hybrid form of government

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is considering a "hybrid" structure of government, if the proposal to shift to a federal state fails to gain public support.

Duterte, in a speech delivered in Davao City on Thursday, February 1, said he was bent on adopting China's sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, enjoys a certain level of autonomy since it has been established as a special administrative region of China.

"If you don't want a federal system all throughout, let's implement hybrid (system of government). We can adopt the Hong Kong and China's (current setup)," he said before the indigenous peoples during a summit held in Panacan, Davao City.

Duterte has long been seeking to push for a federal form of government, in an effort to end conflict and achieve lasting peace in embattled Mindanao.

The President has stressed that federalism would spur growth and development in the country as it will evenly distribute wealth across the regions.

In his previous speeches, he has expressed concerns that failure to adopt federalism as a system of government would only create more troubles in the Mindanao.

Duterte reiterated that a federal structure would address the decades-long problems that persistently hound Mindanao.

"Federal system would be the ideal set up. But everybody does not want it, then, we have to make concession," he said.

"I'm avoiding war. There will really be a war in MIndanao. If you do not give in (for a federal state), it will be chaotic. I am your president who is saying that it will be chaotic. It will be a sorry state for people in Mindanao," he added.

Duterte recently appointed former chief justice Reynato Puno as chairperson of the consultative commission that will review the 1987 Constitution, in a bid to push for a federal state.

Some critics have feared that Duterte might seek term extension, if federalism pushes through.

The President, however, reiterated that he does not intend to extend his term beyond 2022.

"I assure you, I will step down if it calls for a new setup and a new president," he said.

"You can be sure that after the end of four years, and nothing can replace a workable, viable Constitution that is federal, and is long term, I will step down a day ahead. I am not asking for a support as dictator." (SunStar Philippines)
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